Artist Statement for “Project Laura Etta Simpson: In Glory of Black Women” fits perfectly within the theme of this exhibit in that it focuses on the family. My photography focuses on the origin of the family. Although humanity sprang from the loin of Black women, seldom have they been revered, respected, or rewarded for this gift. Thomas Robert Simpson’s “Project Laura Etta Simpson: In Glory of Black Women,” named in honor of my mother, is a photographic expose affirming the beauty, grace, humanity, charm, etc., of Black women. Thomas will photograph 1000 Black women, showcasing their diversity, rebuking the disrespectful history placed on them, and reinvigorate our Sister’s glory and honor that they justly deserve.
Thomas Robert Simpson, photographer, actor, director, producer, and writer, is the founder and artistic director of AfroSolo Arts Festival. Since 1991 he has concentrated on presenting Black art and culture through solo performances and the visual and literary arts.
For the past twenty-six years, Simpson has produced the award-winning AfroSolo Arts Festival. He has also showcased celebrity artists such as award-winning actor Ruby Dee, comedian and political activist Dick Gregory, beloved teacher, poet, and social activist June Jordan, sensational black gospel singer Emmit Powell with hundreds of local theatre, dance, and visual artists.
Mr. Simpson won a coveted Bay Area Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2006. In 2009 and 2018, he was awarded a Certificate of Honor from the San Francisco Board of Supervisor. Over the years has received awards from San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s Black Brothers Esteem Program, The Reggie Williams Achievement Award, the Oakland Supper Club, to name a few. Since 2006 Mr. Simpson has also used AfroSolo’s Community Engagement program to focus on essential issues in the Black community: health, justice, and education.